Thursday, May 31, 2012

Toy Review: Tomy Mighty Men and Monster Maker, Trace Plates and Fashion Plates

I wanted to take a little time to talk about one of best toys of my youth, the Tomy Mighty Man and Monster Maker.  This was a fantastic art toy that created comic bock super heroes and monsters for you to color.  You could pick and choose the head, torso and legs to make all sorts of creations.  I probably could do the math on the combinations, but some of the plates were textural for hair and stuff which would mess up my count.  But lots how about that.

The toys of the time , the late 70's/ early 80's were going through a shift in packaging.  Toy's of the 50's and 60's often were identified by maker as they were all making toy guns and dolls.  In the later 60's and onwards toys became much more branded as is the case with the monster maker. There was also a girls version of the toy called fashion plates, which was not compatible.  As a boy I was really not even aware of the Fashion Plates toy.  I am saying that to illustrate the branded single toy concept.  This started changing In the later 70's when lines of toys started becoming the norm.  Thinks of toys like Rom or Sucker Man they are the toy with nothing else.  Then look at the micronauts when what a whole line that basically worked with each other.  The toys we see today are even greater expressions of the line of toys with video games, toys, movies even coloring books. I am mentioning this change because it eventually pushed Tomy to create other plate drawing sets and the release of many competitors.

For us boys The Mighty Man and Monster was the go to art toy.  It was great It had wolf man and lizard man bodes along with super heroes and all sorts of junk.  You could set up the head torso and leg bits, put down and piece of paper and rub the image with a crayon to get a nice newly made coloring sheet to play with.

For girls the Fashion plates toy was the same but with fashion related figure and square piece rather than the monster makers trapezoidal bits.  Apparently this line was expanded a bit in the 90's Introducing a newer version of the Fashion Plates, a New Kids on the Block Fashion Plates toy and something called Fashion Faces, which was more of a head shot creator. 

After the success of the two toys the maker Tomy produced a couple of lesser known sets.  These being the Fashion Plates travel set and the Little Van Goes sets.  I had the Van Goes toy I think we got it at Pic N' Save in Milpitas, CA.  This says it may not have been the success Tomy intended as mostly unselling toys went here. This set was a small box that had a drawer to hide the plates and rubbing tool.  The plates were vans and dragsters from what i remember.  A very similar idea

I stole this image from the following site please visit them for more little van goes information

I have seen similar Barbie fashion plates online recently you can find them by following this link.

Actually an Ebay search turned up a few for Cabbage Patch kids, Polly Pocket and The lion King.  Even some knock off products like Fashion Designer, the same idea just more grocery store toy section quality.  Even Gi Joe got into the act with Trace Plates.  The trace plates line include toys for Batman, Jurassic Park, Dinosaurs and WWF.  <- The wrestling not the animals.  Though a picture of Hack Saw Jim Duggan giving a panda a flying arm bar is pretty bad ass.

Atari Collecting part 2

I wanted to take a second to call out a new site that is really pretty handy for collectors.  Oddly enough its goodwill.  They have a new auction site going that is pretty good for collectors of all systems.  Most of the sellers just throw up what Atari stuff they have so its a bit of a jumble.  Because of this most of the people have no idea what they have and are not starting the auctions outrageously high.  Here is a link for Atari products currently for sale.

I got a good deal with a few games that I didn't have a week ago so I wanted to comment a bit.  I think this is a great new source of games especially if you don't mind extras of stuff you already have.  I am happy to dump my extras for free to a local store called gamers clique so its cool. 

There are a couple of points to watch out for though.  The shipping is pretty high, as in they are high to be charging what they are.  They add on some sort of shipping fee as well so that makes it a bit worse.   Also you are dealing with people who have no idea how to set up an Atari.  You will see commodore 64, Atari 7800 and Atari 5200 carts in a 2600 auction.  If you don't mind that then its OK.  The second issue with this is that they have no idea how to verify the products are working.  You are buying with no real assurances of quality which isn't great.

All in All I think it's a great option for new collectors and people looking to build up extra stock.  If I were a store looking to expand inventory i would totally go this route.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More thoughts on screwing yourself in Dungeon and Dragons Online

I wanted to talk a little bit more about DDO and screwing yourself over.  I do this to myself a lot.  You really need to think about how you are going to spend your points in Dungeons and Dragons online.  This comes both for attributes and skills.  But you also have to use your feats correctly as well.

When you are dealing out your attribute points you are going to find unless your are a 3rd lifer you just don't have enough to do much with.  You are probably going to need to find one or two dump stats that you apply no points to.  Regardless of your class this stat should never be Constitution.  People over state the important of con, but I would never have a character with below 12 con; ever.  In epic quests your are going to get hit with random splash damage upwards of 100 hp.  You need to be able to take it.  Your 6 con drow sorc is every ones joke.  You need to be able to not be a burden if there is no trapper that means at least 350 hp at epic level.  Really most people would scoff at that as being too low but these are guidelines for the new and I am not trying to scare anyone off.  You primary stat should be high especially for casters as your spell dc's depend on it.  I would say the min is 16 on a primary stat, but also make sure you don't have a secondary stat requirement.  The favored soul is a bit like that where you can screw yourself if you don't get your wisdom up as well. 

States are also effected by items and tomes, so keep that in mind.  If you are not using an attribute you can get by with a +2 tome and a +6 stat item, these are actually very easy to come by at high level so don't worry.  Considering this hybrid casters probably don't need to put anything into wisdom.  Also heavy armored fighters can probably get by with out much in the way of dexterity.  Your wizard can also ignore strength.

Your skills you are probably going to want to min max unless you have something very specific in mind.   Early on I threw a point into tumble on my bard because I got some item.  That was a mistake that always bugged me.  I didn't use or need the skill and I could have had my balance increased so I got up more quickly after constantly getting knocked down.  You should take a little time and read through ddowiki to see what skills do.  Jump is always nice as it increases the height you can jump, though watch out its soft capped at 41 so you don't go any higher.  Swim seems nice until you get an underwater action item then it seems useless.  I have maxed out Diplomacy it is mostly useless except when a quest npc needs me to use it.  Intimidate you will need as a tank, casters get made when you cant pull aggro.  Search, spot, Pick locks and disable device are mandatory for all rogue types.  Concentration is a must for casters, yes even bard.  Your bard must max out perform.  Use Magical Device is the best skill in the game!  You should think about it if you can get to at least 36 skill in it.  Then you can raise dead pretty regularly.  A fighter raising someone is a huge help as is a non healer throwing heal spells.  If you are a bard or Artificer you must master UMD.

Keep in mind the only way to change skill point allotment is to TR your character.  Spend your points well.  If you are never going to reach a point where the skill becomes useful don't point one point in.  If you only need a few points of jump and can use spells beyond that then so be it.  But, generally its best to go all or nothing, trying for 70 points in a skill at max level.

Finally I turn to feats, you can really screw yourself with feats.  I love this about DDO, that you can just mess up.  I once wondered if you can make a Warforged monk with armor plating, yes you can.  Can you ever be focused? no you cant.  You can never do anything a monk does.  Well that was a mistake.  You can change out your feats with dragon shards so this is something you can fix but its a bit of a pain to do.  There are some feats like toughness that are basically always good, but you should really think about your build with other feats. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crescentstar's Top 5 video games

I have been doing a lot more with my game collecting lately.  As most of you know I am an Atari and early system cartridge collector.  I avoid collecting anything that can be burned to disk as that just doesn't seem like collecting to me.  Buying and Playing more I wanted to talk about my top five games of all time.  Currently I am pretty hooked on DDO as well but I won't be covering that here.

The first game I went nuts for was River Raid on the Atari 2600.  There is nothing like it on the system.  It is so deep I have never gotten to a point where it starts repeating.  It requires skill and memorizing levels.  Graphics were great for the 2600.  Basically its the best game of the system, and oddly enough most people agree with me on that.  It is usually a top five rated game.  It was funny I saw a picture of the game and said to my Dad that looks cool.  He picked it up for me for Christmas, I also got some other game I had been begging for month to get, I think GI Joe maybe.  My mom is still a little mad that I liked River Raid so much more.  It's like that when someone drops one of the best games ever created in your lap, its quality you just can't deny.

Moving on in my personal game chronology the next game is Curse of the Azure bonds.  This is the second game in the gold box D&D series.  I did not play pools of darkness but of the first three this is my hands down favorite.  The silver blades was way to easy.  Pool of radiance was great but I felt way more challenged in Azure bond.  The drow just sucked with spell resistance.  The monsters were just hitting that level that they were tough to deal with.  For me this was a commodore 64 game but i know it was released on several systems.

I have mentioned Capcom's Bionic Commando for NES before but damn if it isn't a hell of a game.  I just picked up Rearmed 2 and was playing it last night; I love it too.  This is a game were its just a joy to move through the environment.  It wasn't as fun in the 3d version that came out a few years ago but 2d its awesome. 

Next is the original half life and really it's expansions.  I loved this game from the start.  It's atmosphere is wonderful.  I never felt so oppressed as when the resonance crash left me at the bottom of that facility.  I remember being stoked when I saw sunlight again.  Mere games don't provoke joy like that.  This was a wonderful shooter, light years ahead of the games at the time.  The enemies seemed smart and determined to hunt you down.  There were nice little fights between the aliens and soldiers who both wanted you dead.  There were points you just felt screwed and some where you felt invincible.  The water monsters still fill me with terror.

The last game I will mention is Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox.  This is everything I like in a game.  Really this is the unicorn the 11.  It was pretty hard from the beginning.  Certain bosses killed me again and again.  Some died easily when I applied a particular fighting style.  The story and cut scenes were awe inspiring.  Everything was over the top and you were collecting things to get all the special unlock ables.  Moving around was great you could do little trick moves off everything and you seemed like the constant bad ass.  Very challenging very deep and a 3rd person 3d battle-er.  Perfect!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hicks Road part 3

Some of the poster on have mentioned United technologies corporation as some how tied to the Hick Road weirdness.  This is really a completely separate area and has nothing to do with Hicks but I figured I would post something with a few of the sights along Metcalf, San Felipe and Los Animas roads.

First you are going to need to find a way to get there, the route i took was Monterey Highway to Metcalf Road.  Driving up its pretty windy for a bit so you should be warned.  The first location of any interest is the Metcalf road motocross tack.  I guess they now do some sort of midget car racing there too.  This place is connected with the county and you will see Rangers there during business hours.  I am not a motor bike rider but i guess it would be fun if you are.

 Here is a picture with a bit of information on the park if you are interested.  There was a steady stream of trucks carting motorcycles down the road as I went up so I guess its pretty popular.  It looked fun if that is your thing. I am a pretty big wuss so not me.  Also owning one on those bikes looks like a hobby all to itself.  They have carts full of supplies just to gas up and ride.  I will stick with D&D i think.

It is pretty country through out the area.  You have some really nice views of the Lick Observatory. This pictures looks closer than it is thanks to zoom.  You are going to take Mount Hamilton road off of Alum Rock if you are going to head up there.  From time to time they have concerts and observatory nights where you can look through the refractory scope.  I am pretty sure you don't get to look through the reflector without an astrophysics degree. grazing. 
And there are some nice cows out there.  you can see them taking a little path by the rod in this picture.  I guess this time of year many local farmers are renting out their land for grazing.  Just look around they were in all the little stands of trees hiding out from the sun, even though it was pretty mild out.  The car said it was 68 but it was blustery.

Finally you get to United Technologies though I guess they have been bought out. by some new owner.  I was a little taken aback by what I saw as it looked like they had abandoned the place.  The sing outside looks pretty weather worn with liken growing on it.  Though it looked like a new sign.   Its odd as they did test rockets out there at one point.  I remember them doing a test when I lived in Evergreen with my parents.  It seem like an earthquake with the noise and shaking but there was an ever growing  trail of smoke in the sky that told you it was something different.

The odd part is the flags they had up were new and certainly not in bad condition.  That is a little odd as you can see they have torn down some of the buildings that were once out there.  There is also very new cyclone fencing up everywhere.  Some of the road are falling into disrepair but main roads remain in decent shape.

There is also a guard shake out there that seems to be vacant except for fly strips.  Sorry that is weird do you have a dead raccoon carcass in there?  My friend and I were stupid and young and loved driving these roads when we were just out of high school.  I have driven them more times than I can count.  On one of the weirder drives we save armed guards at this gate.  I have not idea what that was all about, but being a pussy it scared the hell out of me.   Its odd to see everything so desolate after an event like that.  I know time has a way of changing things but its odd to see a big research facility leveled when it could be left to rot. 

In all the pictures you will see an area that once had buildings but now is being irrigated over.  Well except for the bit of paved section in the one picture blow.  I don't get this.   I know there is a lot more to the UTC property it goes back some ways.  You can see the roads on any sort of mapping software or google.  I really just find it weird to see a large two story building and parking lots vanish.  If you look below you will even see a deer prowling in the area.  It has been completely over taken by the animals.

As I have said before how does this all relate to Satan worship and albino's?  Well it doesn't!  Not at all or in any way this area was fun to grow up in and we had a phantom truck that would chase you down San Felipe but we know nothing of albinos.  There were some regular murders in and around the creeks out by Aborn and White thought.  I think it ended up being a Vietnamese guy who killed his girlfriend, so again no albino's involved.
Our thing was driving out to the end of San Felipe with Rush booming into the wilderness night.  There is a one lane bridge that ends in a farm out there, we tried to time it to Red Barchetta playing on the radio, so we went over the bridge just at that part.  As you can seem my friend and I were lame.  This is now a private road and Rush not particularly popular so the teens of Evergreen will need to find a different pastime.  Sad really that is a far better record than your favorite band.

If you continue down Metcalf you will connect to San Felipe.  This leads back to Evergreen to the left and further into the hills to the right.  If you continue further you will come to the fork of Los Animas and San Felipe.  As I mentioned above this end is closed off as a private road.   Taking Los Animas you will reach gate 6 if the UTC complex. 

You will see in these pictures some of the warning signs they have posted.  Its pretty overwhelming for a country road.  Also given the closure of the buildings in the main area why have all this stuff?
Looking here you see they are currently working on this entrance.  Again with bulldozing a building and letting the rest of the place fall to shit why are they working on this.  This is a long drive on difficult roads at best.  This just seems a bit odd to me.

Taking the road at the bottom of Metcalf you will reach the county shooting range.  Its sort of nice that there is a county park like this in the south bay.  I guess you can go and do all the shooting you want.  It is pretty close to a sheriff's training facility and a rehabilitation facility.
Driving in the area you can see a few of our local residents the turkeys.  They are all over here in south San Jose. I snapped a few shots of the other parts of the area too.  Here is the stocked lake we have for fishing and the power plant we have for electricity.  Sort of an odd mix of views sublime and tainted. 

Well if you are looking for my other Hicks posts here are a couple of links.  First is one with loads of pictures. Next i have the first posting I did with primarily information as I have heard it on Hicks.

A new Post about Sveadal and Croy road can be found here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

More thoughts of hatred for Attacks of Opportunity

Playing in the Thursday night Pathfinder game yesterday I was again confronted with how much I hate attacks of opportunity.  My general statements in the past have been that they drive play in negative directions.  Last night I saw how they are just plain bullshit.

Part of the story last night involved my character getting pretty damaged and there being a retreat called.  Being the cleric myself how do I pull out that situation?  I disengage with a five foot step to get a non attack of opportunity casting action or I can flee.  There is no real situation where I run and get healing of any kind.  There is not situation even where I run and others cover me.  This was perhaps the biggest area I was pissed about.  Without going for MMO taunts game need some mechanism for covering a retreat.  Perhaps a ranged weapon could be used to target a few squares are covered.  Moving through them could require a will save.

Over and over again I just find attacks of opportunity are bullshit and some other mechanic could be used.  I really don't see any case were an AoO should occur if you have a weapon out and your focus on the opponent.  Well barring things that are forced by the opponent like a riposte or pressing the attack.  If you do not have the opponents focus your attack actions should be generated by yourself and you should be able to not draw AoOs unless the opponent specifically has an ability.  This huge checklist of gotchas in D&D work out poorly for role playing and poorly for a tactical combat game.

Honestly if you are doing a role playing game if the player presents a situation that the combat rules would interrupt, you are doing a bad job if you stop them.  Perhaps barrel of salt messes up your giant slug attack but not allowing quick wits and cleaver minds to come up with solutions also derails the game.  You end in a place where players feel rolls are more important than roles and now you are playing a minis game.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Iron Maiden's Piece of Mind record review

Piece of Mind is one of those records you know is great but if you don't give it a listen from time to time you forget just how great.  When you come back to it you get this damn that's good, feeling.  It just rocks hard and face melting but in an eerie intelligent sort of way.  for me this has always been Maidens high water mark.  This is such a solid record but it also has an contemplative nature.  You can hear the band looking for the next sound. 

While the record is perfect from track one to end, its Revelations that has always floored me.  Its very mystical and Dungeons and Dragonsey.  You don't get this English fantasy feel until you hit Bruce's Chemical Wedding. 

Everyone knows the trooper rocks and its hard as anything.  But, its also inspired by The charge of the light brigade. It's this kid of stuff that made me get into the writing and reading business.  Rush and Maiden both doing songs about Coleridge's poem's made me say OK I'll check this guy out.  Metal saved my life!

Another personal favorite is Still life.  Its dark and powerful and overlooked.  I love this song.  There is a bit Nico does with the drums that is just great.  I never get excited by drums he has me up in my seat cheering at this bit.

Most of the remaining songs on the record are rockers but similarly on dreamy subjects.  The flight of Icarus is mythological.  Die with your boots on take prophecy into hand and Where eagles dare is based off the movie. 

Finishing off the record is to tame a land.  Who sings about Dune?  Iron Maiden does!  You are going to be hard pressed to find something nerdier than this, perhaps Blackamoor's Knight playing at a ren faire.  But its a real deal metal song that sounds good. 

All in all its the best.  It even has a great pun title that is always fun in metal.   And I have 6th row seats for their show here in August.

Dungeons and Dragons Online help for new players

when you come to Dungeons and Dragons and start playing you will quickly realize hey this shit isn't fair.  This is not noobs whining this is a very real fact about DDO.  The game rewards time invested, and the new player is often on vastly different footing than the people he plays with.  If this is a problem for you, you should perhaps reconsider playing D&D online and find another MMO.  D&D is unique in that it lets you screw yourself as part of the game design.

Going into screwing yourself, there are some things that can be done in character creation that just can not be recovered from.  This is now World of Warcraft where classes and races mix all in the back ground and bad combinations are disallowed.  It's not even Everquest where stats didn't matter as they could be fixed later on.  There are two things you are going to need to know for character creation, 3.5 edition mechanics and DDO particulars.  The game is very close to 3.5 edition D&D so knowing it is a help.  The particulars you will learn from play but enhancements and a single mana bar is a pretty huge change from pen and paper.  I would suggest you try for a barbarian and just play asking questions.  Take on of the suggested paths in the character creation and you should be OK.

Another aspect of the inequity of characters comes with races and character build points.  For the most part the races are pretty even.  Yes there are races that work better for particular classes which is something you should think about but generally they are the same.  The Drow is not, it is statistically better than others.  To make up for this the game creators require you to play a bit before they allow you to play the drow.  The mechanic used to unlock this and many other perks is favor.  Completing quests on higher difficulties give a one time favor award that is tracked.  When you hit 400 total favor you can play drow.  This is usually pretty easy to reach maybe 7th level if you are slow.  Then you can start playing your new drow character, which i generally don't recommend.  If you are having fun with your current character i say keep playing.  Part of this is you get further rewards at 1000 and 1750 favor.  At a thousand you can start creating new characters at fourth level.  At 1750 you gain the ability to create new characters with 32 build points all except drow.  Now you may consider restarting a new character.  In the beginning you only had 28 point to create your character this extra four is a huge help.

Flowing from this is the idea of the TR or true resurrection character.  D&D online doesn't constantly throw new content on top of the game.  Instead of ever increasing levels they have created a system where high level characters play through the game again to get more power.  This is the true resurrection or TR character.  New players will often seen a massively over powered character in their party zerging through the entire adventure, this is probably a TR.  To become one of these TR characters you need to hit level 20 and then run epic level dungeons.  In these dungeons you gain tokens that allow you to purchase a item that allows you two perform the true resurrection.  These are the hardest quests in the game so you will fined they are pretty hard for your now 20th level character.  They get easier once you have completed at least on TR.  The reward for TR's is an increase in build points for the next life and an extra past life feat.  You will have 34 build points on your first TR and 36 on your second resurrection of the character; 32 for drow.  The past lives are a big help and everyone can use barbarian past lives for more Hit points.

The final component to your power is equipment.  You will have a natural growth in power for the most part but there are three sorts of items that are key to a powerful character.  Powerful items in D&D are not necessarily statistically better than other a lower minimum level is often much more of a factor.  Named items that you get in quest or as end rewards are often the best help early on.  Another thing you need to look for are quest chain rewards.  Often you have a series of four or more quests that don't give rewards until you have completed all, but the rewards are special named items.  Keep an eye out here for the regular weapons and armor in the list.  These often have very low required levels and are the true reward.  If you get something with a level two requirement you may be able to zip through the early levels on your next TR.  The final piece to this power puzzle are green steel items.  These are going to be your bread and butter for much of the game.  You need to run quests in the vale of twilight to begin thinking of crafting these items.  So you are going to be at least 16 really 18 as you need to run the shroud to complete this stuff.  You are going to need to run the shroud many many times to get all the bits you need but the end results are worth it.  Green steel are super powerful items that have a minimum level of 13.  So you will be able to make use of them when you TR. There are many crafting tools on the web, i usually just go here.   The lightning 2 and Mineral 2 weapons are pretty powerful as are items that give extra hit points.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

pipers checking their watches

There isn't much I know seeping out right now. NO grains working in fields of words that I can harvest and put forth for you. No desperate grasp and drive but there is worry.  Worry that's got under my skin and doesn't know where to go.  but not in my words, it falters there.  Hiding behind the emotions it's dragging up, silent.  I want to shake it out, give in a be done with it. Nothings letting go its sitting inside like a wasp nest.  swarming out angry.  Change and fear crawling on top of all.  In the folds of the fabric the bugs make their homes. slowly devouring the scarecrow silent though he speaks.

Roleplaying game project thoughts on in game gods

Hesod is the last of an elder court that has long left the world.  turning their back on the material and leaving Hesod as watcher and herald.  Most conceptions of Hesod depict him as blind and with broken or cut wings and a great many wounds.  Often name dancer of swords he weilds great swords of silver and gold, both cast in flame.  Hesod is armored in archaic armors that have been unknown for centuries often covered in a cloak stitched together from sacrificial animals.
Hesod is less that father that many religions have seen and rather an older brother.  Protective but also hard when instructing and demanding.  While the de facto ruler of the spiritual realm he is often unconcerned with lower entities.  Should something rise up beyond its place he will put it down otherwise he is content to let most along.  This includes entities he once considered enemies.  He pushes the architect to his citadel and maintains a watch but will not cross into it's lands.  The serpent Ophidian is let along to sleep and dream.
Much of the time Hesod is watching for sign of the hosts return.  He is often unable to reach the material due to the intervention of the Architect.  This has been mistaken as uncaring by some followers.
There are two faiths that follow Hesod.  The main set of followers are from all all races and is completely open.  They see Hesod and a provider but count his waiting into his plans.  They also wait for a deliverance when things will be set right.  The clergy focus on justice/vengence and maintaining the flock as the focus of their works.  The second tradition was established by the Vreehalija based on works established by the beltinovites and includes a thrust toward knowledge.  They hold that an earlier manifestation of the architect provided those of Hesods court with knowledge and maintain some reverence for that early form.  The focus of their works are Knowledge and Justice
One of the ritual days generally celebrated throughout e'his is the harvest rite.  Generally a day of thanks for plenty it serves more as a day of feast than religious celebration.  Even those uncaring of the faith usually celebrate it as a simple harvest fest.  Beer and food is meant to be consumed to prepare for the coming winter.  Offerings are left often on behalf of departed relatives and the community is strengthened.  The harvest rite is paired with the long night an feast prepared and left a week later, but unattended in most regions.  The feast is left out some way from the community and left for the dead.  The preparation is done by whatever clergy are present in the area.  In the Aron Veja communities of the north west the long night is a darker affair.  The children and old are usually looked up in a lodge house.  The rest of the towns folk attend with the dead and are disguised to blend in.  This is held in the open air on the same tables as the harvest rite. 
A day observed by few by the aron veja is the Watch of the Court which is said to be the time ages ago that the elder court of Hesods king left the understood worlds.  During this day the faithful gaither to reaffirm themselves to hesods wait and deliverance.  This is usually a series of  folk sermons outside the town that lasts several days.
late in the winter at its bleakest some of the young of the community are sent out to do good works as a sort of children's crusade.  
Ophidian the serpent
The serpent is the the destroyer now sated after leveling humanities progress he sleeps.  Sometimes the eye flutters and fixes on something fit for its rage but then it quickly falls back to the dream.  In the past destruction He worked with an mode of the architect, in the guise of a spider spirit, to destroy the works of man.  They were opposed by Hesod and a minor earth spirit that the spider devoured while Hesod was forced to retreat.  Content Ophidian slept.
Ophidian is a destroyer and changer blind with passion.  In many ways he is the opposite of new mode of the architect.  But his freedom seldom is that of creation which is now too much bound with the architect.  Hesod  will be seen to work behind the works of Ophidian fixing some of what is destroyed in his wake.  Reworking hardships to reveal paths unseen.  And when the architect has let his works take to much Hesod and Ophidian have fought together.  This is the relationship often enemies, often subverting or changing ones goals other times allies.
The serpent is the dreamer and the deeper dream is his own.  Those who reach it are dwelling in his realm and may bring back his rage upon themselves.  This is a danger of the dreams, to interfere with those Ophidian cares for in his dreams.
It has been said some north most men of Ohma follow the way of destruction, but these are unconfirmed rumors.
The Architect
The architect is something of an idiot king, waking and seeing the world and assuming it was his own creation.  The Architect views the world as his sandbox and is an active if uncaring entity.  Creation and manipulation of creatures has been the focus after the spider spirit slipped into this mode.  Perhaps the this is an after effect of the earth spirit a final act of defiance that has changed the architect.
It was somewhere early in the guise of The Architect that the decrees against metal and machine science were made canon.  This is the reason for the fall of metallurgy within E'his.
Hesod is the Architects main concern of late as he has made promises of outside entities coming to take away his power.  The architect veiws himself as the prime creator and fines all of hesods teaching a blasphemy against himself.  He is currently building a more established faith with followers known as the Ecz'Eir.  Many of their rites are direct mockery of Hesod, and serve to undermine Hesod's followers.
A temple that call themselves the Hesodic dancers perform wild dances within Carinthis in an attempt to elevate themselves and draw followers. Higher up with the mysteries of the cult followers are slowly subverted to the architect.  This is at first a doctrine of co acceptance followed by a view of co creation.  Rituals are generally daily for the lowest tier of followers, attempting to gain exposure.  Higher ups have weekly meetings that mainly deal with the work of the temple.  Ritual work is far more abstract and follows an undefined internal calendar of past important dates. 
Most of the internal holy days of the architect are unknown by the populace in general.  The followers usually carry about their business and meet secretly at night or at other points during the day.   The days are strangely symbolic often following odd concepts such as the bear over coming the wolves on the rain slicked granite slab.  This is sort of a guided mental exercise that the followers work through with instruction.  At this level few know of the practices and the only outward sign of the day bay be a tuft of fur pinned to the clothing or hair worn wet when normally it would be dry.
 The Green faith
The green people hold to a religion which includes the ideas of castes and ideas of reincarnation and mummification.  The focus of the green people is to achieve the form of the highest caste and maintain the form.  The whole of creation is included in a chain of life with the canisthratu at the bottom and the druidic leaders of the green race at the highest tier.   They belief the form they achieve in death will affect their form in the next life they live.  Due to this they will commit suicide to maintain their form as part of a cultural ritual.  Thought that refuse to join in the suicide rituals are forced or hunted down.  Some of the longest standing high leaders have gone through mummification to further cement their state.  There are rumors of some even entering into undeath within the pyramids of the forest.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


bird in the sky
against gold hills
I want to go too.
Running out on the storm.
Choking back feelings
when others say too much
they break I stand
No room for feelings
with everyone feeling its wrong. 
come to some point where
its about to burst 
its numbness that I find in me. 
Nothing but a dull drain
in the blood that I want
to cry away but don't.
bird let me come along
with you but won't
give me some time
to be weak and break
But you fall crying
louder than me

Another tale of the Beltinovites

The halls of Galliv curled and spun on geometry sacred and obscene.  Miles of stone once marvelled, ruined and now still yet unrebuilt.  When the Beltinovites would wield empire this was it's seat; now more a prison.  In years of their reign the Beltinovites made slaves of Aron Ve'ja and Cazz'it alike.  They were the slaves that built these hall on who's back rule was weighed.  This has long been overturned, Beltinovites now hold up safely in Galliv; seldom journeying beyond sight of the city.  Here is safety and of course the great library.

Books were the heart Beltinovites bled from.  The library was central and most safe of all Galliv keep.  Stacks swept circles that helix'd in depth and height.  Everywhere lounged the wise drunk in learning, much as sloth.  Though one was hurried and worried amid these trappings of the learned.  Cobius Baco Gervis waded behind a cart collecting discarded tomes and tending to waning lights.  Cobius tender and keeper of books was high among these many readers.  His eyes were not met and sounds duly ignored.  It was strange when he was called down from stacks, worse still the harker only a minor adept magus.

Cobius eyes envenomed with scorn found the magus, though lightened at his sight.  The Beltinovites' eyes were wide in terror an skin convulsed still white.  "A man, no a thing, call upon us. Its questions would be for you, I have no knowledge of what it speaks."  Curious enough Cobius followed somewhat weary of intrusion and change.

Pushing aside the maroon drape Cobius Baco Gervis small steps drew him into the waiting hall.  His large eyes glared from his bulbous head upon something new.  Taller than an Aron Ve'ja it stood though thin and stooped down near eye to eye with Cobius.  It clutched a shawl, palid as dead flesh decaying from a wound, spidering blue veins awash under the skin.  Silks wound tight over much of its flesh, as if spun about not woven and worn.  What of the creature shown threw as coal dark or blotches of healthy pink flesh.  Lips and flesh did not seem to product about its mouth, just wild grinning and chattering teeth.  Though the eyes; the eyes had been cast over in skin. It's hunch was aided by a staff on which some strange homunculus of eyes perched; long tendrils merged staff and beast. To this Cobius Baco Gervis faultered in trying to speak.

Cobius knew of the breading of living tools, it was the Beltinovites that first took up the art, but this.  This was beyond even his dreaming.  He would dwell a moment on the blood coursing within it's shawl; finally drawn from amazement by the blinking of several eyes upon the staff.  "Seek you no evil here Monstrosity, magics here could turn blood to wood dust and flesh to straw. I have no understanding of you, and I wish it!" Cobius cast from a voice that echoed with a chorus of minds not his only his own.  Cobius had little idea what the being conveyed but would guess amusement.

A chattering rasp came forth both growling and whining. "I only seek the location of Hesod's Grace Hold, a prison in the latter years, you will have maps..Yes?"  "I believe though it will take time and transcription more.  Barctia Oil will eat of the sand plates to create a reverse image which you may take in a days time." "We shall come again next day." hissed out the beast, which lurched to its full height and left.  This was to Cobius' relief though he was nagged by the thoughts that it would return and the unanswered question "What was it."

The next morning he camped in the waiting hall, transcription bound safely.  Hours passed singularly, until as a spectral creeping shadow it returned.  Drawing the plate back into his arms he bartered "Of what races are you, who burdened you with these abominations of flesh." There was no answer for enough time that Cobius realized there would be none.  He finally passed the plate to the beast.  I turned leaving only with "We are the Hesodicur."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Game Master Advice letting people know game themes

What is it with GM's that we get so set on shit?  There are at least two campaigns that I have had just about enough with.  Those being wandering about with your dick in your hand and sailing about with your dick in your hand.  My god how many of these fucking things do we have to play through.  I get it mister game controller dude you want to go somewhere.  Fuck get in the car and go that is what i do.  If I wanted to sail I would figure that shit out and find a way to be apart of it.  The same could be said about sword play and shooting which i enjoy both of, but not the consequences of doing it to a person.

To digress a bit if you really are into something you should make it your hobby.  I am into writing for example.  I have a thesaurus, dictionary and one of those clicky ass IBM keyboards.  I am living the dream baby.  I think of something and just type they shit up right quick.  If you are all into something try and make time for it and do it.  If you have a family try to include them in it but do it.  Go bowling, chop wood, go to highway 5 rest stops looking for anon hook ups with truckers.

The point for role playing being, don't do a theme campaign without letting people know when they sign up.  If I was going to run a thieving city based game I would let people know all about it.  They could set up their character with that in mind.  That ties them into the campaign and gives them something interesting they can do in the vast majority of play. 

Say we are sailing around, you could create a sea witch or even just load some wind spells on your wizard.  That will make you much more useful and safer than the fireball throwing battle mage.  Maybe a pirate build rather than a rogue.  All this makes for a party that is part of the game rather than one along for the ride. 

There are some themes people are just not interested.  I am not interested on being on a boat anymore.  but if you let me do something like a semi aquatic character hey I may just be interested in playing.  Take Anthropomorphic animal, please! Seriously I just can't go there. I you take my meaning let people know generally so they can decide if it is not their cup of tea.  If they are out they may be back in the next game.  If they are in and unhappy no one really wins. 

Crescentstar Progressive Rock Score Card 11

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gamers Clique

I recently found a new video game store down the street from my house called Gamers Clique.  I have to say these guys are pretty cool and I want you to check them out.  They are new so they don't have the biggest stock like 4 Jays up in Pinole, but they are worth a look.  The guys running the store know their shit unlike a lot of places and the prices are very fair.  I have purchased from another local store Game World and felt like I could have done better on eBay.

The big reason I am writing about them is they actually do some repair and evaluation of the games.  This is huge to me as I have purchase some bad games from Space Cat in the past.  They do clean up of all the contacts on their Carts and actually do some fixing of disks.  I am not sure of that process they had a little machine.  What I am really stoked about is they do replacement of the 72 pin connector for your NES.  There is no place that does that here.  I didn't ask about composite video conversion for Atari systems, but that would more than I could imagine. 

Here is a their location in the shopping center on Santa Teresa and Blossom hill.  I want to make it easy for you to get there.  Good people who know their product and do repair, they have really won me over.  I hope they do you too.

Cross platform list of Imagic cartridges

Ok I guess some people were looking for this sort of list so i cooked up a quick little one for Imagic.  These guys were sort of the number 3 producer for Atari.  These guys frustrated me back in the day, because they had some titles that were only on the Intellivision.   I always wanted to give Ice Trek a try

You will see they produced products for less consoles than Activision; dying and having their products absorbed by other producers.  I always liked Demon Attack and Dragon fire is great.  I was actually a member of their Numb Thumb Club back in the day, though they spelled my name Vim Ricky.  Riddle of the sphinx was something that looked very cool on the box but didn't play so well.     As you can see their boxes were a little goofy.

Atlantis II                            
Cosmic Ark                           
Demon Attack                           
Fire Fighter                           
Laser Gates                           
No Escape!                       
Quick Step!                           
Riddle of the Sphinx                               
Shootin' Gallery                    
Sky Patrol               
Solar Storm                       
Star Voyager                               
Trick Shot   

Demon Attack    
Ice Trek    
Nova Blast    
Swords & Serpents    
Tropical Trouble    
White Water    

Nova Blast    
Tournament Tennis    
Wing War

Commodore 64 cartridges

Atari 800 / XL / XE Cartridges
Demon Attack

I couldn't find any products for the 5200, 7800, Nes nor the Odyessy 2 so I think this is it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Absolute games Cartridge list for multiple platforms including Atari, Nes and Genesis

Following up on my Activision cartridge list, here is a list of Absolute carts.  Absolute is the spiritual successor to Activision so I am also interested in there carts.  Really this is not a big list so it is something that can be tackled.

Pete Rose Baseball
Skate Boardin'
Title Match Pro Wrestling
Tomcat: The F-14 Fighter Simulator


F-18 Hornet       
Kung-Fu Master       
Pete Rose Baseball           
Super Skateboardin'           
Title Match Pro Wrestling   
Tomcat: The F-14 Fighter Simulator   

Battle Tank
Boy and His Blob
Race America
Space Shuttle Project
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Sega Genesis
Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends     A
David Crane's Amazing Tennis    
Goofy's Hysterical History Tour    
Super Battletank

David Crane's Amazing Tennis
Home Improvement    
Redline F-1 Racer    
Space Ace    
Super BattleTank 2    
Super Battletank: War In The Gulf    
Turn And Burn - No Fly Zone

Friday, May 18, 2012

Activision Cartridge List for multiple platforms including atari, nes, sega and early computers

I worked this up mainly for myself, but you are welcome to it.  As I have said of my Atari collecting I focus a bit on early Activision.  For the time those were really stand out games.  I would say for the 2600 you can't beat Activision, and having played many of those games I am also interested in their ports to other systems.  One of the systems adds ground tanks to River Raid which is pretty neat.  I also lived not far from the Activision office out in Milpitas so I sort of think of them as my local game outfit.

I am a cart focused collector and avoid any sort of floppy or CD collecting.  The list you will see is only for carts, even when talking about the Atari XE and Commodore 64.

Activision Decathlon, The            
Chopper Command   
Cosmic Commuter   
Dolphin    Activision   
Double Dragon   
Fishing Derby   
Grand Prix       
Ice Hockey       
Keystone Kapers                            
Kung Fu Master       
Laser Blast   
Pitfall II: Lost Caverns        
Plaque Attack       
Pressure Cooker            
Private Eye            
River Raid   
River Raid II   
Robot Tank   
Sky Jinks
Space Shuttle                            
Spider Fighter                           

Activision Decathlon, The   
Dreadnaught Factor, The       
Keystone Kapers   
Pitfall II: Lost Caverns            
River Raid            
Space Shuttle                
Zone Ranger   

Atari 800 XL XE Carts
Designer's Pencil, The   
Dreadnaught Factor, The   
Keystone Kapers   
Pitfall II   
River Raid   
Space Shuttle   

Commodore 64 carts
The Activision Decathlon
THe Designer's Pencil
Park Patrol
Pitfall 2
River Raid
Space Shuttle
Toy Bizarre
Wonder Boy
Zone Ranger

Double Dragon                

Dreadnaught Factor    
Happy Trails    
River Raid    
Worm Whomper

Keystone Kapers    
Pitfall II: Lost Caverns    
River Raid    

Archon: The Light and the Dark    
Die Hard    
Galaxy 5000    
Ghostbusters II    
Adventures of Rad Gravity    
Stealth ATF    
Super Pitfall    
Sword Master    
Three Stooges    
Ultimate Air Combat    

Sega Master System
Bomber Raid    
Cyborg Hunter    
Galaxy Force    

Sega Genesis
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure    
Radical Rex    
Shanghai II: The Dragon's Eye    

Alien vs. Predator
Mechwarrior 3050    
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure    
Radical Rex    
Shanghai II: Dragon's Eye    
X-Kaliber 2097

Nintendo 64
Bug's Life    
Nightmare Creatures    
Quake II    
Space Invaders    
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater    
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2    
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3    
Toy Story 2    
Vigilante 8    
Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense